Island Hopping and a Python at Istana | 17-231017

Diwali, the Hindu festival of light. Houses are lit – and people light lamps inside themselves and sit in silence with their eyes closed to reflect:

  • Lamp 1: let it burn and melt away your anger / jealousy
  • Lamp 2: let it burn away greed and desires … feel happy and contented with what you have been blessed with
  • Lamp 3: let it fade away all insecurities that you may have in your mind
  • Lamp 4: carry that lamp to each part of your body; let it burn away all your diseased cells or any disease in making. Feel healthy as this lamp travels to each body part and illuminates each organ
  • Lamp 5: is a miniature of the sun … light it near the centre of your body and let it fill your body with warmth and love to then ooze out through your smile, eyes, speech and body … you will find that everyone who meets you is happy and elated.
  • Light these 5 lamps each day morning and carry the positivity wherever you go…

St John’s and Lazarus. We lit a scented candle in our livingroom and had a lovely breakfast of chia pudding with mango. Then took the ferry from South Marina Pier to St John and Lazarus Islands. Nice breezy 20-minute ride. Those small islands are such a lovely part of Singapore. Small green dots in the Straits, with just nothing but green lawns, camping grounds, wild cats, mangroves and pristine beaches. I read Murakami’s curated Birthday Stories and S meditated. We went swimming and playing in the ocean – until we discovered it was infested with sea lice, at which point we just decided to walk along the beautiful beach instead…

Southern Ridges Hike and Gillman Barracks. In a way it’s kind of nice that the galleries in Gillman Barracks are mostly deserted on a Saturday morning … the lucky ones who are there all alone get to hear the sounds of the lush jungle around them and have the undivided attention of the passionate curators who have all these fascinating stories to share. I dropped by with three friends after a lovely hike through the Southern Ridges, and especially two of the galleries in the beautiful spacious art spaces stood out for me. From the one Chagall painting to the various pieces from artists around this region and Europe, each had such fascinating stories to tell. Interestingly, also, all of the art displayed there is mainly from smaller local artists personally or from collectors around Singapore who invest in them out of personal appreciation rather than pure financial reasons. After that lovely morning, I came back to Tiong Bahru, got flowers at the market, a dairy free savoury waffle at Tiann’s and a coffee from the Bakery to take home and keep me company while writing a story. S was in Manila from Thursday to Saturday evening, and when he came home, we had a turmeric omelette and watched the new Lady Gaga documentary.

Istana. In celebration of Diwali, the president’s official residence was open to the public on Saturday. We walked across the gigantic sweeping lawns, past a lake with a few majestic swans floating around, and checked out the wedding cake of a white opulent building, full of shiny gifts from all over the world, after saying hi to a python visiting from the zoo and listening to the local Hawaiian shirted ukulele band playing Malay folk songs in the garden in front of the house. Thousands of people stopped by that day – the government should open it up more often!

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